Posts Tagged ‘Pierre Thomas’

Colts and Saints - two #1 seeds and two potent offenses

Superbowl XLIV has all the makings of a classic match, and kind of reminds me of the titanic Steelers Cowboys Superbowls from the 1970s.

Only difference being this is two high-octane offenses against two overachieving defenses.

There are going to be intriguing battles all over the field next Sunday in Miami, here are five of those chess matches that I think will determine if Peyton Manning or Drew Brees will hold the Vince Lombardi trophy above their head and shout to the skies ‘By the power of Greyskull……..I have the power!”

Saints RB Pierre Thomas v Colts defensive tackles Daniel Muir and Antonio Johnson – The sexual chocolate that is New Orleans RB Reggie Bush has shown that once and for all his talent does not lie by getting 4 to 5 yards a pop up the gut, so that job of moving the chains in the traditional method is left to Pierre Thomas.

Thomas has had a quiet season, with only one one hundred plus yard ground game (Week 3 v Buffalo) but he did finish the regular season with an impressive 5.4 a carry. Thomas has only had 33 touches in two playoff games so far so this could be the time he is unleashed as part of a ball control gameplan by Sean Payton, the former Leicester Panthers quarterback.

Going against Thomas will be the rather unknown pairing of Muir (312 lb) and Johnson (310lb). Seen by some as a weakness these two pillars have nullified both Ray Rice and Thomas Jones in the postseason, and they have the intestinal fortitude to do it one more time.

The Colts have given up 20 points overall in their last two games, and Rice and Jones (two dominant rushers) combined for just 109 yards on the ground.

Neither had the opportunity to pound the rock twenty times or more because their teams were required to come back from deficits using the passing game, but the combo of Muir and Johnson have become unsung heroes on a team that if full of no name defenders, with the exception of pass rushing defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.

Advantage – Saints – Thomas has not been asked to carry the ball 25 times a game so he will be fresh. With Mike Bell there to pick up some short yardage runs Thomas could be an MVP candidate but only if the gameplan flows the way of the ground game.

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Dante Rosario's catch silences the Charger faithfull in week 1 (photo by AP)

Dante Rosario silences the Charger fans in week 1 (Photo by AP)

With just one game gone in the season it’s hard to tell who are the contenders and who are the dead-enders.

It was a really wild start to the season for both the London bound teams and the ideal way to begin my series of weekly updates on the London bound New Orleans Saints and the San Diego Chargers.

At Qualcomm stadium you could have heard a pin drop when Jake Delhomme took a rather high snap, avoided the pass rush pump faked and then hit Dante Rosarioin the endzone as the Carolina Panthers stole a 26-24 win against the Chargers in California.

Elsewhere in Louisiana Saints linebacker Scott Fujita grabbed a bullet pass from Jeff Garcia in the final minute of the game to seal a tough 24-20 victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Notes about the Chargers

♣ Shawne ‘Lights Out’ Merriman had just two tackles and failed to get to Jake Delhomme

♣ 3rd round rookie Jacob Hester did not touch the ball – Ill keep everyone updated. The other lesser known rookie fullback Mike Tolbert did have an impressive start with 3 runs for 6 yards and 3 catches for 35 yards and two first downs

My Week 1 grade – Offense B, Defense C, Special Teams C

Notes about the Saints

♥ Deuce McAllister did not play, and without his bruising style the Saints running back combo of Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas failed to make a big impression on the ground. Reggie Bush did have a fantastic game with 8 catches for 112 yards and a score. Lets face it Bush can catch dink and dunk passes all day long and just kill teams – he could catch 150 passes legitimately in a single season.

My Week 1 grade – Offense A-, Defense C, Special Teams C

In summary both teams showed that they can compete, but they will win games with their offense more than their defense. With 7 weeks until Wembley I cannot wait.

What was YOUR first impression of the Chargers and the Saints in Week 1? ……………….

Guess who’s back, Deuce is back, lalala(to the tune of that Eminem song). Question is how much of a difference will running back Deuce McAllister make to the win column of the New Orleans Saints in 2008?

By the time the Saints come over the play the San Diego Chargers in England on October 26 we will already know if Deuce has had the desired effect, or if his season will be yet another write-off ?

McAllister when fit is an imposing figure, a big old-fashioned bruiser who is capable of dominating a game with some good ol’ ‘school of hard knocks’ football.

He also has the perfect foil in the form of tailback Reggie Bush. The Heisman Trophy winner of 2006, Bush, has shown that whilst he has incredible hands (161 catches in just 28 career games) he is not the answer as the starting running back for the Saints, with a not so hot 3.7 yards a carry career average.

In 2006, with Deuce and Bush both fit, and performing using their different backfield styles, the Saints shocked the world and found themselves just a single game away from the Superbowl.

In 2007, with Deuce missing 13 games due to injury, and Bush again making an impact as a dumpoff/screen pass receiver, but not as a starting running back, the Saints regressed to 7-9, and missed out on a playoff spot.

Saints backup running backs Aaron Stecker, the former Scottish Claymores NFL Europe legend, and rookie Pierre Thomas both performed admirably, with Brees using his backs to dumpoff more passes than a fleet of dumptrucks dumping rubbish. Stecker in fact started 6 games, and had an extremely respectable 2007 output, but neither however have the intimidating presence of Deuce.

The Saints are a better team with Deuce McAllister in the backfield, but with 25 games missed in the last three seasons there is no guarantee that Deuce will even make it to Wembley.

I for one hope when I turn up at the Venue of Legends on a wet and windy October sunday night for the NFL International game between the Saints and the San Diego Chargers that number #26 is in the backfield.

Good Luck to Deuce to keep fit, the Saints add a big ol’ weapon to their arsenal with McAllister in the backfield, and I think he makes a 3-5 game difference in the win column.

With Brees able to find quality wideouts such as Colston and Patten (again when fit – boy did he suck as a Redskin) and being able to offer a bruising running game and a finesse running game in addition means the Saints can mix and match better than a 4 year old with a big box of Lego.

Do you think Deuce is a difference maker or am I talking a lot of hot air ? Comments below all welcome….